In a recent tweet, Jesus suggested a topic that was, perhaps, inevitable to be our focus during a week when world leaders assembled in Glasgow for the first major climate conference held in the UK. His question: ‘which institutions (rules of the game) have helped or hindered our ability to tackle climate change’?
For those following COP26, it can be a bit dizzying to keep track of all the announcements and celebrities (oh look, there is Leo DiCaprio! How did he get in to the conference hall while many national negotiators did not?!) . The declarations have come thick and fast. Some of the most prominent recent announcements include:
End Deforestation by 2030 (let’s not mention the 2014 New York Declaration on Forests, which set the same target but has failed miserably or the REDD+ initative, which colleagues in Land Economy have shown to have had little effect on rducing forest loss)
Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% compared to 2020 levels (although currently less than half of the largest methane emitters have signed the pledge).
As my brief comments on these proposals would indicate, I am skeptical that we currently have the right institutions to meet such laudable ambitions. So…
What sorts of institutions do we need to be (more) successful whether on methane, forests, phasing out petrol vehicles, mobilising climate finance or decarbonising energy-intensive industries? If it helps, obviously just focus on a single area.
Relatedly, are there institutions that pose a barrier to change? If so, which are they and how might these obstacles be mitigated or the more problematic institutions changed?
Are you optimistic about the potential for new or reformed institutions to arise that would allow significant progress to be made over the coming decade? Why or why not?